News You Can Use… or Lose
by Michael Braunstein
Let’s face it. Fake news isn’t new. Probably somewhere there is a buried Roman parchment where a scribe writes in Latin that Nero was actually a compassionate Emperor; that fiddling while the Seven Hills smoldered merely exemplified his empathy for fellow citizens.
After a Pine Ridge pilgrimage a few years ago and reading Rex Smith’s excellent Moon of Popping Trees (University of Nebraska Press, 1975) I researched press coverage of the Wounded Knee massacre of some 130 years ago this December. I dug up the original accounts provided by the Omaha Daily Bee and other papers from that winter day in 1890. At least five regional newspapers had reporters onsite when shooting started that left 250 unarmed Native Americans dead in the snow as well as 25 Union soldiers. Not surprisingly, though history tells us it was a massacre, those 1890 news accounts painted it otherwise. Fake news has been around for a long, long time.
Science or Spin Doctors? When I was taking Organic Chemistry way back when, we were taught that the “scientific method” meant very simply that when one experiments, the results of that experiment must be reproducible 100 percent of the time. That is science. Boyle’s Law is going to be Boyle’s Law no matter how many times you perform the experiment, the results will match.
But somehow, today’s media — and the “research” it reports — have redefined “science.” “Statistics” would be a better descriptor. Results of modern research is based on “sometimes” rather than “always.” And the media describes that as “follow the science.” Hell, magic is more reliable. At least with magic the rabbit always comes out of the hat, even though we know it’s a trick.
Worse, whatever happened to “alternative newspapers”? Once upon a time alternative news meant it was an option to the socio-political viewpoint of the mainstream media. No light shines between the two any more. It’s lockstep. Again, back in the day, for example, when the mainstream supported foreign wars for oil, alternative papers provided an alternative. Now all media seems to be in an echo chamber.
Don’t call this “news”. So, you won’t find these links reported in mainstream. It doesn’t fit the narrative of “Be afraid. Be very afraid.” Calling anything “news” these days could be construed as an insult. Let’s just call these “food for thought,” just some links to statistical observations. We quote statements followed by references. You’re on your own.
Stated: “Masks-for-all for COVID-19 not based on sound data”
1. Lee KW, Liu BYH. On the minimum efficiency and the most penetrating particle size for fibrous filters (https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00022470.1980.10464592) . J Air Pollut Control Assoc 1980 Mar 13;30(4):377-81
2. Martin SB Jr, Moyer ES. Electrostatic respirator filter media: filter efficiency and most penetrating particle size effects (https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10473220050075617) . Appl Occup Environ Hyg 2000 Nov 30;15(8):609-17
3. Reusability of facemasks during an influenza pandemic. (https://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=s04272006) News conference, Apr 27, 2006
4. Rengasamy S, Eimer B, Shaffer RE. Simple respiratory protection—evaluation of the filtration performance of cloth masks and common fabric materials against 20-1000 nm size particles. (https://academic.oup.com/annweh/article/54/7/789/202744) Ann Occup Hyg 2010 Jun 28;54(7):789-98
5. Jung H, Kim J, Lee S, et al. Comparison of filtration efficiency and pressure drop in anti- yellow sand masks, quarantine masks, medical masks, general masks, and handkerchiefs. (http://aaqr.org/files/article/668/36_AAQR-13-06-OA-0201_991-1002.pdf) Aerosol Air Qual Res 2014;14(14):991-1002.
6. Grinshpun SA, Haruta H, Eninger RM, et al. Performance of an N95 filtering facepiece particulate respirator and a surgical mask during human breathing: two pathways for particle penetration (https://oeh.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15459620903120086) . J Occup Environ Hyg 2009 Jul 22;6(10):593-603
Stated: “Randomized trials of … face masks have not demonstrated protection against laboratory-confirmed influenza.”
Stated: “No bias-free study has ever found a benefit from wearing a mask or respirator in this application.”
Stated: Finally, for today anyway: Dr. Deborah Birx, “if we do things almost perfectly,” there will be 200,000 deaths from Covid-19. Well, guess we did things almost perfectly then.
That’s today’s news you can lose.
Heartland Healing is a metaphysically based polemic describing alternatives to conventional methods of healing the body, mind and planet. It is provided as information and entertainment, certainly not medical advice. Important to remember and pass on to others: for a weekly dose of Heartland Healing, visit HeartlandHealing.com.